Despite my comment on the last post I decided not to 'test' my knee yesterday in favour of leaving the 'test' to the pre-race warmup. So I did run in the 4 mile race today.
The last time I was in Carrignavar was when I ran schools cross country races i.e. not yesterday!! Carrignavar is a small village just north of Cork City and not too well signposted so I ended up taking the scenic route which ended in me inadvertently driving the race route. In hindsight this may not have been an advantage. The course seemed to be essentially 2.5miles uphill followed by 1.5 mile downhill -ouch!
I went for a 2 mile warmup and my knee felt fine for the first 1.5 miles, but... it started to ache when I ran the 0.5 miles to the start line. Nothing too serious and afterall I made it to the start line so I had to run - didn't I!!
The start was downhill which is never the best from a pacing point of view particularly if you know that a long uphill follows. I tried to take it steady but my instantaneous pace dipped into the low 5:xx over this section. As the route entered the village we took a right hand turn and the uphill began. The pace dropped to more than 6 mins/min on this section. Overall I passed the Mile 1 mark in 5:53mins (169bpm).
A slight downhill allowed the pace to quicken into to 5:4x range but I was struggling to keep pace with those around me and I dropped a couple of places. The next uphill section quickly came around shortly before the 2 mile mark. Mile 2 lasted 6:03mins (177bpm) - a sign of the uphill struggle!!
I ended up in a bit of no-mans-land and at this stage of the race I felt like I was running hard but not racing. Mile 3 was even slower @ 6:16min (182bpm).
Over the latter part of mile 3 I began to slowly close the gap on the runner ahead so as I crossed the mile marker I felt like was beginning to 'race'. With about 1200m to go I caught him and I pushed hard to pass. The finish was steeply downhill so I just left gravity to the work ('cause I couldn't and there was a headwind!!). Mile 4 ended up being the quickest of the race at 5:44min (183bpm).
I stopped my watch at 23:58min (avg 178bpm). My race.....
The results show that I came 24 out of 68 competitors (i.e. top 35%!!) in an official time of 23:59 mins. East Cork AC won the O35 team prize but I was 5th club runner home so I didn't count!! Well done to the guys Frank Hayes (5th), Eric Meade (7th), Denis McCarthy (16th) and David O'Dwyer (18th).
Shortly after the race my knee began to stiffen up. I tried to go for a warm down but within 30sec later I had to call a halt.
Although I was knackered afterwards I now feel that I didn't put myself as hard as I could have today. I don't think my head was right. Interestingly comparing my last 4 mile race where I ran 23:15 I averaged 179bpm and 167, 178, 183 and 188 bpm for each of the miles (generally higher than today). Although I appreciate that there are other variables I wonder is this a sign that I didn't push it today? Maybe my knee issue was in the back of my mind, maybe the cough which is still lingering from the cold last week was a factor, maybe something else... Whatever the reason REST / RECOVERY is now certainly on the cards!! I reckon I'll not run for at least a week or 10 days and hopefully regroup for the summer season targeting a quick autumn half marathon.
Week Total (23-03-09 to 29-03-09) - 3 sessions
12.51 miles - 1:25:45 - 6:51min/mile - 162bpm